Letter of the month: June 2002
From: <SandyWalbridge@cs.com >
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 11:08:54 EDT
Subject: What does your emblem represent?
I just recently found my great-grandfather's tombstone. An emblem
that I didn't recognize was carved in it at the top. My husband
suggested that it might have been the emblem for the Freemasons. After
some internet research, I found your web site and the emblem is the same
as the Freemasons.
Can you tell me what the emblem represents?
Also, is there a way to find out more about my great-grandfather through
the organization. He lived in a little town called Sawmills in North
Carolina (near Hickory, NC); he was born in 1862 and died in 1935.
Thank you for your time!
Subject: Re: What does your emblem represent?
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Tue, 18 Jun 2002 11:08:54 EDT."
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 19:54:12 -0400
The emblem you are referring to is our "square and compasses"
The square is a builders square, two equal flat-edged metal or wooden
arms joined at a perfect right angle (90 degrees), used to measure and
confirm perfect square corners for drawings, carved stones, and
buildings. The right angle is important in buildings, to make sure that
stones, bricks, walls meet and rise at the correct angle, so they don't
crowd each other, or lean improperly. To Masons, the square symbolizes
virtue and honesty with one another, as in the saying "a square deal"
which of course means an agreement that is fair to both sides. It also
symbolizes the authority of the master of the workmen, against whose
perfect square all the other measuring squares on the building site are
checked for accuracy. In early days, the simple techniques for the
geometric construction of a perfect square were secrets held by master
builders, so the master (presiding officer) of a Mason's lodge still
wears a square as his emblem.
The compasses are a pair of legs of equal length, fixed to each other
at one end by an adjustable hinge. They are used for drawing circles,
where one point of the compasses is the fixed center and the other
swings around to trace the circumference. The compasses can also be
used for taking or marking off distances along a line. To Masons, the
compasses symbolize learning to draw a circle around our own desires and
passions, learning to keep them from overrunning their proper bounds.
Also, since compasses were one the classical tools in geometry (along
with the simple straight-edge), compasses symbolize the science of
geometry, which is the basis of all of architecture, and more generally
is the symbol of mankind's ability to learn about the world around
That's a partial explanation, anyway. The longer a Mason thinks
about the working tools of Masonry, the more and deeper meanings he
comes to see in them.
Regarding questions about your ggrandfather, you would do best to
contact the Grand Lodge of No. Carolina, and see if there are lodges in
Sawmills or Hickory. If he was a member in that area, then one of the
lodges there might still have records about him. Contacting the local
lodge in an area is almost always the best place to start looking for
Masonic info about a relative.
| Gary L. Dryfoos <email@example.com>| PM: Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA
| P.O.Box 425400, Camb, MA 02142 | PM: Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden, MA
| http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/ | Richard C. Maclaurin Lodge, MIT, MA
| w: 617.253-0184 f: 617.258-6875 | Internet Lodge #9659, E. Lancs UGLE
| | 32~; MPS; B'hood o/t Blue Forget-Me-Not
| | R.W. Grand Rep. GL Russia near GL Mass.
| "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among
| whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
| or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."
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